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Uterine artery embolisation (UAE), or uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) is a way of treating fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumours of the womb.
Uterine artery embolisation (UAE), or uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE), is a way of treating fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumours of the womb.
If you have fibroids that are causing you discomfort, they may need to be treated. Your surgeon may have recommended embolisation as a way of stopping blood flowing to a tumour, reducing its size. With uterine artery embolisation, particles are injected into the arteries that supply blood to the womb. This stops blood flowing to fibroids growing inside or around the womb.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and normally takes 30 to 60 minutes. You may be offered a sedative to help you relax.
A tiny tube (catheter) is inserted through a small cut in your groin into your femoral artery (an artery in the upper thigh that helps supply blood to the neck of the femur). The catheter is steered using X-ray to the womb and the point where the artery divides into multiple vessels supplying blood to the fibroids.
Tiny plastic particles or gelatin sponge particles the size of grains of sand are injected into the blood vessels. These flow towards the fibroids and block the blood supply. As embolisation can be painful, you will be given a morphine pump through which you can control the amount of painkiller you receive following the procedure.
For more information, and if you have any queries about the procedure, speak to your consultant.
Continue taking your normal medication unless your surgeon tells you otherwise.
Other treatment methods include medication and surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the most suitable treatment option with you.
The following lifestyle changes can help make the procedure a success:
This is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient. Please ask your consultant for more information.
Most people stay in hospital for two nights following the operation. Recovery time varies enormously, but it is a good idea to book at least two weeks off work. Some people go back to work within a week; others feel tired and have period-like pain for several weeks after the procedure.